Trewen: some prospered; some didn’t

Trewen is another of those easily missed small farming parishes west of Launceston. However, not all of its inhabitants in the 1850s were farmers or farm labourers. William and Ann Staddon had moved from east Devon to South Petherwin to the east of Trewen in the late 1840s. They were described in 1851 as schoolmaster and schoolmistress, presumably running a school in the village. By 1861 Ann had moved again to Pipers Pool in Trewen. She was still teaching although there was no sign of William and her status read ‘unmarried’.

Her son Joseph Sanders Staddon left home in the 1860s for London. In 1871 he was lodging with a tailor’s family from Cornwall at Shoreditch in the east end of the city while himself working as a tailor. Tailoring was a low paid domestic occupation tediously repetitive and needing long hours of work to earn a half-decent income.

Shortly before his death the Hackney Poor Law Union was investigating whether Joseph had a settlement claim in their area. They concluded he was ‘irremoveable’.

Things got even harder for Joseph after his wife Martha, who he had married in 1871, died in 1886. The year 1891 found him living with his 14 year old son and nine year old daughter in a two-roomed flat in Shoreditch. He was still recorded there in 1901 but four years later was resident in Hackney workhouse. At the time he was suffering from a chest complaint, having previously spent three months in prison. The unfortunate Joseph died soon after.

A neighbour of Joseph Staddon at Pipers Pool in 1861 was John Frayn, the 11 year old son of the village blacksmith Robert. Smithies were often located at crossroads to maximise potential business and Robert’s, on the main road from Launceston to Camelford, looks to have prospered.  John duly followed his father into the trade and had taken over the business by 1881, marrying three years earlier. He and his wife then moved to St Stephens by Launceston, where he continued his blacksmith’s trade employing others as well as a family servant.

The possible site of the Frayns’ smithy at Pipers Pool, now ignored by the traffic rushing along the main road